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Mar 182012


Phone:  203-858-4852

Email: susanwallerstein@gmail.com

A Community Conversation on Civility Gathers on March 29 … 6:00–8:00 p.m.

Civility and the Press: Is the media part of the problem?

(Norwalk, CT – March 4, 2012) Is the media part of the problem or part of the solution to incivility in discourse? A panel of distinguished journalists will help respond to a suggestion from Frank Partsch, Director of the Association of Opinion Journalists’ Civilitas Project, to “think about where we, individually, might draw the line between robust, hard-hitting, withering commentary, and on the other hand, cheap-shot, below-the-belt incivility.”

The panel features Froma Harrop, a nationally syndicated columnist and president of the Association of Opinion Journalists, Jerrod Ferrari, co-managing Editor of The Hour, and Thomas Mellana, Stamford Advocate editorial writer. The moderator will be Tad Diesel, Director of Business Development for the City of Norwalk.

This third in a series of community conversations about civility will take place on Thursday, March 29th from 6:00-8:00 p.m. in the Fat Cat Pie Company Wine Room at 3 Wall Street in Norwalk.

Admission is $20, which includes pizza and a beverage. A cash bar will be provided for those wishing to have a glass of wine.  Tickets can be purchased at norwalk2.eventbrite.org.  Space is limited, so advance purchase of tickets is highly recommended. A portion of the ticket proceeds will be donated to the Norwalk High School Civic Voices Project.

Come, listen and share your thoughts on civility, anonymous comments, and the media.

Hosts and sponsors for this special event include Norwalk 2.0, a community development advocate; REd APPLES, a grassroots non-partisan community coalition organized around improving Norwalk Public Schools; The Hour, Stamford Advocate/Greenwich Time, Norwalk Education Foundation, Norwalk Public Library, and Fat Cat Pie Company.

# # #

BACKGROUND:  Froma Harrop’s nationally syndicated column appears in more than 150 newspapers, including the Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, Seattle Times, Denver Post and Newsday.  The twice-a-week column is distributed by Creators Syndicate in Los Angeles. Media Matters ranks her column 20th nationally in total readership and 14th in large newspaper concentration. Harrop has written for numerous other publications, ranging from The New York Times and Institutional Investor, to Harper’s Bazaar and Metropolitan Home. Previously, she covered business for Reuters Ltd. in New York, and was a financial editor for The New York Times News Service. A Loeb Award finalist for economic commentary in 2004 and again in 2011, Harrop also has been honored by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Over the years, the New England Associated Press News Executives Association has named her for five awards.  Harrop recently appeared with Jon Stewart on the Daily Show.

Click below to view the flyer.

civility in the press






Jan 192012

The South Norwalk Public Library will be hosting a book signing and wine and cheese reception on Saturday, January 21st from 3-4.30 pm at 10 Washington Street, South Norwalk.

Author Peg Tyre will discuss and answer questions about her recently published book, The Good School: How Smart Parents Get Their Kids the Education They Deserve.   This book and her formerly published book, The Trouble with Boys: A Surprising Report Card on Our Sons, will also be available for purchase.

This event is being co-sponsored by the Norwalk Education Foundation, REd APPLES, Stew Leonard’s and the Norwalk Public Library System.

Registration is strongly suggested – please do not register via voicemail.

flyer – Peg Tyre Book Signing (2)

For more information or to register – call 203 899-2790 extension 2


Jan 182012

The Carver Center will be hosting its first Civic Engagement Youth Forum on Thursday, January 26, 2012, at 4:30PM at Brien McMahon High School, Norwalk, CT.

This first in a series of Youth Forums will address the issue of the Achievement Gap from the perspective of the youth themselves, perhaps the first time they have ever been asked in a serious way for their input on this pressing challenge.

Ali Reed of WTNH will serve as moderator. Ms. Reed previously reported for News 12 Connecticut and before that worked as a writer and editor for the U.S. news section of Foxnews.com. She also reported on camera for the site’s daily live news program, The Strategy Room, and was featured on Fox News Channel for her investigative reports.

Select high school students will constitute the Youth Leader Panel. Key area foundation executives, Norwalk Public School administrators, and other community and state leaders will serve as Listener Panel members. The “Listeners” will briefly offer their reactions, but more importantly, they will commit to honoring what they heard from the youth in their daily responsibilities.

The Carver Foundation of Norwalk, founded in 1938, reached nearly 5,000 individuals each year through community, educational, enrichment and recreational programs, including service learning, parent leadership, summer camp, spring and fall national college tours, and a winning basketball league. In addition to our busy community center and family support services, our free afterschool programs led by certified teachers, based within the Carver Center and Norwalk’s four middle and two high schools, reach 695 students with intense college–prep assistance.

Please join us!   Mind the Gap Forum Flyer

Adult Listening Panel confirmed: Dr. Susan Marks (Norwalk Public School Superintendent), Mike Barbis (Newly elected member of the Norwalk Board of Education),  Laura MaCargar (Youth Rights Media & The Perrin Family Foundation), Dorcas Blue (Fairfield County Community Foundation), Suzanne Brown Koroshetz (Principal at Brien McMahon High School), Dr. Lynne Moore (Principal at West Rocks Middle School), and Bruce Mellion (President Norwalk Federation of Teachers) Tentative


Novelette Peterkin, MBA

Executive Director

Carver Foundation of Norwalk, Inc.

7 Academy Street

Norwalk, CT 06850

Phone: (203) 838-4305 Ext. 103

Fax (203) 838-4197


Blog: http://carverheroes.org/


Oct 242011

Community Conversation about Civility – October 12, 2011 @ Norwalk CT Fat Cat Pie Co.
Norwalk 2.0 & REd APPLES

The results are in from the first community conversation about civility hosted by Norwalk 2.0 and Red
APPLES on October 12th at Fat Cat Pie Company. About 50 Norwalk residents, reflecting a cross-section
of the community, shared their views in writing by taking the five-question civility quiz on a series of
posters around the room. They also selected drink tickets with civility attributes with show respect
topping the list, followed by seek common ground, show appreciation and listen tied for 2nd.
Participants’ written comments indicated they experienced nearly twice as many examples of uncivil
behavior as civil behavior over the past year.

Listening, collaboration and general politeness topped the list of civil behaviors. Little
things like saying please, thank you, good morning, and have a nice day make a big difference
according to the data collected. Participants also acknowledged the kind of collaboration
that took place after the recent hurricane with neighbors helping each other.

Examples of uncivil behavior included rudeness e.g., interrupting, not listening, bullying,
and general loss of self-control in public and on-line where people often hide behind anonymity.
Road rage was also cited as a troubling behavior.

Creating a civil community is important, according to participants, because people want
Norwalk to be successful, it’s easier to get things done, and they want to continue living here.

They also acknowledged the relationship between democracy and civil behavior, perhaps
taking a cue from George Washington who said, “Every action done in company ought to be
with some sign of respect to those that are present.”

The Speak Your Peace Civility Project in Wisconsin website states, “This is not a campaign
to end disagreements. It is a campaign to improve public discourse by simply reminding
ourselves of the very basic principles of respect. By elevating our level of communication and
avoiding personal attacks and general stubbornness, we can avoid unhealthy debate. This will
lead to a more effective democracy and help maintain our sense of community by increasing
civic participation.”

The 4th question on the quiz asked people to identify something they could do in their
everyday work/life to be more civil. Comments focused on increasing self-awareness, developing
patience, and improving listening skills:

• Think before I speak, words can hurt.
• Slow down and be more patient.
• Listen to everyone and respect opposing opinions.
• Look for common ground.

According to one participant, “civility should be a normal, natural part of our
existence…simply treat others how you want to be treated…have respect.” Another suggested
that public officials and town employees need to learn that “a resident asking a question does
not equate to challenging the official.” Another shared, “Walk the walk, the world hates a fake.”

Norwalk 2.0 and REd APPLES plan to keep the civility conversation going by sharing the results of the
civility quiz and promoting ongoing dialogue through future programs